TWO SIDES OF THE STORY

One cat learned to climb our laundry room and show it off to the other 89 cats.

The next morning we see six butts shades from under the conservatory roof as we had our morning tea.

In the afternoon we see about eight, and the next day, it seems like half the whole cattery had their butts spotting on the warm fiberglass roof every now and then.

We had fun counting all the butt spots then, then having a great time guessing whose butt was it that we saw on that corner or this corner.

But then one of the other neighbor texted and complained about cats lounging on her roof and she will not want to stand their smelling faeces on her ceiling.

Ceiling?

I went two houses over and saw builders taking down rain-stained ceiling and some dried out, bone white faecal remains. Those we all see in ancient leftovers in long abandoned houses.

And none of the mobsters ever climbed the roof until at most three days ago.

Do I have to argue? Some people won’t change their mind once they are set on blaming animals, even though those blackish molds on their ceiling smells stronger than the sewer just outside their house.

Still, something needs to be done with that tempting glass roof before some vile neighbor solve their ridiculous assumption in their own hands and mobsters start vanishing.

We here all know about people with sacks and muffled cries at night, roaming around before some cats were missing or some new one crying in the neighborhood losing their way around.

I know more about the pain of losing Cali and get him back out of sheer luck, just to see him dead two weeks later, because he did not get proper medication through his stray days.

And I haven’t seen Kaka for two or three days now.

He used to play in an empty lot across the street, and come home at night with dandelions all over his body, which he lovingly shared with our shirts and shorts. He used to chase lizards and moles out of fun, and no harm done except for all the grasses he stepped and rolled over.

If he is thirsty he went home, if he is hungry he went home. He knows he is the next mama’s boy and he doesn’t have to hunt nor beg for his well being. All he needs is looking at me (or the new caretaker) straight in the eye, and meow once.

But following his frantic, muffled, meows that the wind carries to add our worry did not turn into any fruitful find, though we keep on trying, and we keep on looking, and we keep on asking. Door to door, person to person. We are ready to beg for forgiveness and fall down to our knee if we have to, but we want our big brother back at all cost.

Late at night, what we got is this little guy; white and brown tabby, Crying and crying and crying somewhere inside car engine parked across the street; the car that belongs to the grandson of the old woman who always gives us trouble with her running mouth.

If I asked permission, I will have yet another trouble, so I just sneaked my way to under the car and retrieved him.

But even after he was well fed and choose his accidental new bed to curl up and release all his nerve wreck, we still hear that frantic meow.

We know it was Kaka. No one else calls that way but him.

So there we are, eleven twenty five near midnight, scaling around the corner once more.

This time, I saw that dark shadow bouncing from inside the parked car, and although my caretaker said it’s impossible, I turn my cellphone flashlight on and saw Kaka with is two paws on the window and horror on his face.

My caretaker ran to the house and bang the door. Even though she is a petite woman, she is no less fierce than me. She talked in composure and courtesy, but there was the hidden threat just like a cat’s growl when one tried to steal her baby.

There were many reasons, and some are legit. Kaka might be curious and slipped into the car when the owners left the door open too long; but that car has been parked there the whole day and we only heard the meowing from the evening.

I remember about Cali and how he lounged only around the front yard, and he still ended up missing and dumped somewhere.

I did not want to take anymore risk so I am cleaning the street from Sierra and other mobsters, including the aging Hanshin, and stuff all the climbing cats into the house until I have enough money to fix that conservatory roof.

Those days were our past two weeks leading to today, when fund comes only from a handful of our supporters (hint: less than ten) and Christine Alice’s fundraising page.

Food has been so meager in the bowl and everybody lost a stone or two.

All of a sudden we have about twenty five cats stuffed into thirty six square meters (387 sqft) house.

All of a sudden we have to sneak in and out of our own house so no one will burst out of the door and risk their lives. Cats are jerks and they just can’t listen to any reason even for their life’s sake.

All of a sudden cats start getting sick, and the more cats learned to climb and roam around, the more cats canned inside the house.

The more cats get sick, the more cats got angry, the more cats try to kill each other.

Our house will become living hell and cramped torture chamber until we can fix the roof, whenever God be merciful and fund becomes available.

Our piece of sanity comes from this little guy, who will not stop entertaining us by force with all his cutesy antics.

He is person’s cat. He made sense of all tension and cool down nerves gone tight, man and cats alike.

He follows us everywhere and will not see another day without us in his sight.

His name is Hachi.

For the time being he is healthy and happy, though probably won’t be for long if we just keep locking the cats inside to prevent death from snatching them.

We have had too many ripped from me lately, that any reasons or sense no matter how acceptable no longer acceptable.

I have had too many ripped from me lately, in cruelest of manners, that I will do my best (as usual) and many more to keep that sparkling eyes and sassy tabby alive to see the adulthood of his days.

Maybe ten Dollars at a time, maybe not, but as long as I rise, I will try to make him shine.

~ Josie

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

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BY HER SIDE

The sidewalk leading to our house, down to the corner that ends our cluster, is empty.

We waited, just for a little while, although we know there won’t be anyone there.

There will be no one there taking a sharp turn and running like wind to greet us, follow us into the house, and wait by the veranda until we disappear behind the door.

There will be no one there when we will open the door few minutes later, and find her in the dog house where she lounged. There will be no one now, to meow gently as we bent down and empty a few pouches of food she always like.

There will be no one there where she was always by our side.

When her little baby was crushed by a fancy car and left to die; she was there by her baby’s side.

When a kind heart came to trap her kitten and search for help, she was there by her rescue’s side.

When I picked her up for a second chance for her baby, she was by my side.

When her child finally lost her battle during surgery toward recovery, she was by their side.

When we took her home, alone, to live in peace ever and after, she was by our side.

When Hanshin grows old, and his age becomes a hindrance, she dropped all grudges, and stayed by his side.

When Kaka stands tall at the top of the stairs, calling for his long lost brother Cali, she was by his side.

Now when she suddenly slowed down and depressed, we want to be by her side.

When her tummy become bigger overnight and it sank our heart, we were by her side.

When the obvious verdict (wet FIP) was read, we were by her side.

When she reduced herself from an energetic kitty to a lethargic old woman with belly that bent her spine, we were by her side.

Like she lays herself by our sides during our storms, like she lays herself by our sides throughout our tears, like she lays herself by our sides along our laughter, we were by her side.

As she made her last journey to eternity, forever together with her child once more, we were by her side.

As we thought about the cruel unfairness of the universe, we were by her side. She lived as a stray, her kitten were crushed and left to die, failed to be rescued, and now, she got a fatal disease.

As the unfairness of all the world failed her, we stayed by her side.

With all the love that she had given us, with all the sweetness she showed us, with all the blessings she showers us with, despite all the cruelty that befell her.

Until her last breath ended her unfortunate story and exchange all with blessings and perpetual joy

We are by her side.

~ Josie

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

Although Mama Sakura (named after the residential place where she lived) fell ill fairly briefly, her treatment left a burning hole in our pocket. All donation that we receive today will go toward her treatment ~ Josie

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SOMEONE LIKE HIM

Have you ever imagined? Someone like him. Homeless, loveless; but he is the reason I am here.

Have you ever imagined? Someone like him. Unwanted, thrown away, hopeless; but he is the reason I am going.

He is the reason I wake up in the morning even though my limbs refuse to shine.

He is the reason I keep walking, even though there is no more power in my swings.

He is the reason I keep trying, even though the road ahead is just dark alleys with no ends.

He is the apple of my eyes, the love of my life.

And I will call him with sweetest voice, because no other of my own kind would.

And I will embrace him with all my warmth, like no other of my own kind would

And I will offer him all I have, while no other of my kind would.

Even if one day my voice will turn coarse, my body will turn cold, and my worldly goods will come winding to an end.

Even if one day nothing left coming, for me to embrace him with.

Even if one day I might be joining him at the bottom of murky river that is called life; and never again given the chance to rise.

Someone like him, will still be the reason of my being.

~ Josie

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

 

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SEMICOLON, COLON, COMMA (2)

Every time I felt the light of new sunrise, from the floor of my studio, where I slept for a week on the cold floor of my studio, I felt the hand of the universe. Here comes the new day: on my left hand, a hope, on my right hand, a chance.

But what is on your face, universe?

I wouldn’t know. The sun is bright and blinding.

I can only see Souffle. That’s how my new Syndicate call him, or Pancake, as Christine Alice would name him. Either is a fit because he likes the Japanese Pancake Souffle, a new trend that swept into homes and breakfast, just like it washed into mine. It’s soft like Souffle, it’s filling like Pancake, and a breeze to make when the pang of reality kicks in as we brace through the day.

He always curls up on the pile of my pillow, soon should also go, on the thinning sheet of my bed comforter, which has no comfort left on it’s ripped and worn out quilt. He always sulks when the sun comes because it means he will lose the neck that he loves so much to curl up against, lest he will cry his fears and vulnerability all night long.

But outside of this room that now provide you a home, dear child, is another kitten just a little bigger than you are, slowly winding to his end. He came before you and his name is Carol that brings joy of the season of giving and hope and joy. He is waiting to see me. Unlike you, he did not have my neck through the night. He will have the most comfortable bedding, and blankets, and my jacket; while you have none but worn out place mat.

But outside of this room that now provide you a home, dear child, is a future in the making that I will have to provide as soon as possible, before the rest of its danger find its way from behind that closed door.

Outside of this room is the challenge that I have to deal with and conquer as fast as my decrepit hands and my tired legs may move, because every second spent elsewhere, death is looming closer. The window is small, but if we slim up and run fast enough, we can go through and perhaps survive.

And outside of this room, I finally collected large bag after bag of the poison that I scraped off the wall and floor for you, so that you can grow into healthier, stronger Pancake.

When all is scraped and done, comes the fun part. A little runaway every time the pain of watching my soon-gone Carol will join all his brothers and sisters who passed before him. Sometimes I hoped his growing FIP will come take him quickly and painlessly, but most of the time its bite sinks to me painful and slow, as I remembered all the days that counted near last Christmas to near this Christmas that I spent nursing him and he spent growing up.

First the wall; though dark and brooding, it is slowly filled with spatter that will remind me of the foaming ocean. The ocean I always missed, the foam into which the little mermaid turn to at the dawning of her fate.

Then the floor, wooden and laminate, to stop the cold from stinging my bare footed stand.

And through all the bustle in this tiny house, Panda invented herself a cat tree and climbing through the unassembled bed; although it’s Grizzabella who claimed its peak.

Beardie had never lost her spot, on the box of a new mattress that I dared not touch before time. It’s a spring bed, but it had been packed in the last technology that suck all the air and flattened it as thin as duvet. As with all that is vacuumed, though once the air slipped through, it will popped like a bomb and fill the whole living room.

Oh, when that happened, who is the kind Lilliput who will help me carry it into its new, permanent home?

I saved the amusement for the last. I need to dry mop and suck all the dust away; I need to install the bed while the old chap who looked just as handsome with his stitches on his cheek watched all the magic unfold that he never saw through his lives on the street.

Soon, he will be back on that street, though a little bit different. He will have a place where he can rest from rain, from heat, from night, from wind, from all that steals all his years from him. He will not have a permanent home, he will not be indoor, but he will have as much food as he needs, as much fresh water to quench his thirst after all adventures, as much care and love as his new caretaker willingly affords.

After a week, that cold, damp room where walls will no longer stay white, is now a small room, so small it can only host a bed and a little cabinet with two tiny drawers, and no more. So plain it only can offer a restful sleep, even just a few hours, but a restful sleep for a tired legs or few worn out paws can make a difference.

After a week, the labor completed, and the little joy that I will gladly share with everyone, with you, shall be in place.

After a week, we shall see whether the trust with which I entrusted our lives to you will be returned, or should I just sling my bag out of the door, so I can provide what I have lost through all my labor.

~ Josie

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

SEMICOLON, COLON, COMMA (1)

There has been no doubt that I need a break; long overdue. All these tsunami when life happened and the aftermath: Big Sister, Cinderella, Charlie, baby Kai, Sokka, Zukko, Katarra, mama Jade. Before a chance for a breath, a new kitten in emergency called Pierre, and then Ricky. Next, a mini Upper Respiratory Infection outbreak that we got from ugly weather, fresh Australia’s storms.

I had forgotten the days, the night, I had forgotten to eat, to drink, to sleep. I had forgotten that the world went round, and that I am still on planet Earth, just with an uglier creature called human with rotten hearts, blistering negligence, and ulcerating ignorance.

I had stopped feeling, I had stopped thinking. I only realized that if I went down the ravine too far, when I cannot snap out of my depressive cycle (of borderline bipolar), and go back out to claim my life back. I only realized when I had difficulties counting 243+671 and the next day, took half an hour to calculate 6 x 52,000; the price I need to pay for tuna.

There has been no doubt that I have been texting back and forth with the universe without any punctuation, much fewer periods. There has been no doubt that I need to find my comma; and the semicolon: next time I have difficulties to breath, call.

So I call.

There has been this lingering worries and fear because all this time, despite all the effort and all the loyalties of good friends of The Whiskers’ Syndicate, that if I don’t post, donations died.

I was trapped and taken hostage by the work that I truly love, yet there was no ransom. No single word.

In choosing between death and death, what is there to doubt? I choose death; although death in believing that our Syndicate will never abandon me, at least the cats. The fundraising may fail, the donation might plummet, but we will live, somehow, anyhow.

And we live.

I still work during my break, just so the biting threats of our future is not too bleak, but in restraining myself from the all other part of the world to give myself some release, I still ebb and flow in constant.

To keep my mind from going completely lost, I have chosen a very bad place to start: my bedroom. The room that has been the curse of the whole house. It’s damp; almost wet, with fungus, mold, and seeping water that weighed down my lungs every single minute I lay in it.

And I still need to care for some cats there, at times, when I am running out of space.

In a pinch like that, throwing away things felt more excruciating than it should be. In fact, it felt excruciating for no reason at all because my bed is so damp it’s no longer white, the spring had begun to decay, and I was never sure if it will hold every time I climb on it, much less with extra five cats.

Throwing away my mold-eaten table felt excruciating, throwing away my blackened stationery felt excruciating, and throwing away all the decorations and linens that permanently stained by nastiness and embraces perpetual smelling felt excruciating.

The process of putting my life to a complete halt, while building anew, probably felt as excruciating as woman in labor itself.

I am woman in labor, I am giving birth to our new, better, healthier life.

I gave them away one after another. The headboard, the bed, the mattress. Mostly to junkyard, the rest, to the garbage bin.

I saw the floor one tile after another. Until there are more but mess, disgusting heaps of craps, and more mess, and the whole smell that made my lingering migraine twice as bad.

I spent two brooms, and a scraper, and some dozen of mops and floor cleaners to make it look decent again.

Then a little time to realize that my neighbor had cut her side of the wall and built her newly boasted kitchen on her side of my wall. The greed that started all the misery, the story, this post.

Throwing the stone, even though the neighbor deserves so many, will only make things worse.

What I thought was simple dampness, required another set of treatment that cost beyond all I can save.

It’s just that, I went too far to stop, much less come back. I have 90 lives I am responsible of, and the future of all the kittens who found their way into our home.

So, one more thing to give: the wall. I knocked all the mortar and washed it with fungicidal solution. I layered it new with swimming pool concrete, after a while, cementitious waterproofing agent, and after that, waterproofing paint, and then, surrendering my dream of laying my long adored wallpaper, go with the mundane, old school, wall paint.

What came next is a dark, almost black, wall; but it’s dry. It doesn’t leak, it is not damp, and although it still feels cold, it no longer makes my hand wet. It’s no longer sweating, much less dripping, and there is no more teeny insects that nested under the layers.

And Vera, one of us with chronic pneumonia that gives her snorts and snots the rest of her five years life since her kittenhood, slept and curled up in complacent peacefulness.

And a comma, perhaps semicolon, to stop me on my track to oblivion and give me the chance to regain my energy, my spirit, my direction, in continuing my quest to Canaan alongside these cats, rescued animals.

Alongside you all, who have started your pilgrimage with us toward the promised land, and never left us since.

~ Josie

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate